It’s all about perception, and the perception of Perth is going through a major revamp. A slew of new hotels started to bring some much needed attention to the West Australian capital with hotels such as Alex, Tribe and COMO the Treasury lifting the accommodation game nicely. Late last year InterContinental Perth City Centre opened marking a turning point for luxury accommodation in the city (see more on that story over the page). The new build Westin Perth is due to come online in April offering 368 guest rooms including eight Westin Suites, ten Club Suites, five Executive Suites, and one Presidential Suite. Restaurants include Italian a la carte Garum and the Haven Room for lighter fare. The hotel is also boosting Perth’s meeting space capacity with more than 2300 square metres of event space including an 800 square-metre Grand Ballroom.
Perth’s biggest piece of kit to come online this year has been the new $1.6 billion Optus Stadium, which not only caters to major sporting events with its 60,000 seat capacity, but also major events. Included in the eye catching state of the art design are multiple function spaces with the largest catering up to 1500. Optus Stadium CEO Mike McKenna says there has been strong interest already from conference and event organisers.
“The Stadium provides Perth with an exciting array of new conference and event spaces attracting local, national and international visitors, in turn delivering economic benefits to the State,” he says. “The facilities on offer are world-class and can accommodate events of all types and sizes.”
The main event spaces on Level 3 offer sweeping views of the Perth CBD and Swan River, with the River View Rooms catering for 500 to 1500 guests for conferences, gala balls or cocktail functions.
Complementing the River View Rooms is the Sky View Lounge on Level 5. With the ability to incorporate the adjoining concourse, up to 400 guests have the chance to take in an amazing sunset overlooking the CBD skyline.
There is also a range of smaller function spaces including the Victory Lounge, which caters for approximately 200 people and is located on the northern side of Optus Stadium, the 12, 16 and 24-person suites, plus the buffet and a la carte restaurants located outside the Stadium.
One highlight of the Stadium’s state-of-the-art technology design are the two 340 square metres super screens, which can be personalised for corporate and private events with company logos, presentations and event hashtag feeds.
While the new build Ritz Carlton development at Elizabeth Quay is on track for a mid-2019 opening the McGowan Government has been busy meeting with Chinese officials as it attempts to bring more Chinese carriers to Perth. A trial for China Eastern Airlines to add a direct service between Perth and Beijing may be on the cards. At present the WA capital is only serviced by one carrier, China Southern, with direct flights from the Guangzhou five times a week.
It won’t be long before Qantas starts operating its first direct service from London to Perth, with QF10 leaving London for Perth on March 25. Increased aviation possibilities are the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to Perth fully realising its potential as destination to match its East Coast rivals.
It is easy to see Perth’s appeal to the UK and Chinese, with the city mirroring the image many have of Australia. A place of infinitely blue skies, pristine beaches and a city that has never lost touch with its country town hospitality and friendliness. Interestingly these very attributes also play well to a domestic market. Perth now offers a degree of luxury necessary to lure corporate travellers, but without the same formality.
If you look hard enough you may see at least two people wearing a tie, the Premier Mark McGowan and InterContinental Perth City Centre general manager Adam McDonald. That doesn’t mean it’s boardshorts in the boardroom, but it does mean ditch the tie and at least once take off your shoes and get some sand between your toes.